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MGM Gives Media A Look Inside Massachusetts' First Resort Casino

MGM Springfield rolled out the red carpet for the media today, providing guided tours of the first resort casino in Massachusetts ahead of this Friday’s public opening.

     Construction workers were still putting finishing touches on the 2-million-square foot complex that sits on three city blocks on the southern reaches of downtown Springfield.

      Tour guides highlighted the eclectic nature of the design of the $960 million project, the attention to small detail, the use of antique furniture and memorabilia, the inclusion of artwork, and the many homages to Springfield history throughout the property.

      There is a distinct lack of glitz, glamor, and neon usually associated with a Las Vegas-style casino.

     "It does not look like Las Vegas  and I don't think people will be disappointed," said  MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis.

      " I think people will be really excited and they will respect the amount of attention we took to make this look unique."

      He said the casino design respects the sensibilities of New England. 

      The entrance to the hotel off Main Street features a large sculpture made of aluminum plates painted white in a tornado-like form that is meant to honor the city’s resiliency following the 2011 tornado that destroyed many buildings in the neighborhood of the casino.

      In the hotel lobby there are rows and rows of bookshelves filled with refurbished volumes of classics, works by local authors, and random high school yearbooks.  A 19th Century chandelier that hangs in the elevator vestibule was discovered at an antique store in New York by MGM CEO James Murren.

      There are 252 rooms in the six-story hotel and no two are alike. Each features high ceilings, leather, and natural woods.  Among the highlights pointed out by the tour guides are bric-a-brac, old photos, sports trophies, and other oddities that were purchased at the famous Brimfield Antique Flea Market.

      On the carpets and pillows there are quotes from the 19th Century Amherst poet Emily Dickinson.  Tributes to the famous children’s book author and Springfield native Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel are seen at several places throughout the property.

       The MGM Springfield design is unique in the casino industry.  There are a dozen entrances to the complex and the gambling floor is in the middle surrounded by restaurants and retail. That is the opposite of traditional casinos where patrons must walk past the slot machines and blackjack tables to get something to eat or go to their hotel room.

        It is a design that comes with a risk to MGM, according to the general manager of the Springfield casino Alex Dixon.

        "It absolutely is a risk, but we are an entertainment company, and so if we can build a product that makes people excited we can appeal to not just your traditional gambler, but broaden that scope to families who want to come to a movie, get a great meal, or go to the outdoor skating rink or farmers' market," said Dixon.

        Tour guides pointed to things for people to do if they don’t want to gamble.  There is a bowling alley, a golf simulator, and a movie theater.   There are three upscale restaurants and a food hall with casual dining.

        The 125,000-square-foot gambling floor has rows and rows of flashing slot machines and in what is a first for Massachusetts there are blackjack tables, roulette wheels, craps tables, and a poker room.

        The only display of Vegas excess is in the Commonwealth bar, located on the casino floor, which has a drink priced at $25,000 – you read that correctly -- It is made with a 117-year old cognac and it comes with a brand new Indian Motorcycle.

        You can order a $25 version of the drink, the “Indian Sidecar”, which is made with a cheaper cognac and does not come with a motorcycle.



The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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